Derry General Tour:
This tour begins with the Christian history and the growth of the monastic settlement of Doire under Colmcille. We explain the coming of the English and the plantation of Ulster leading to the new walled settlement of Londonderry. You can learn of various 17 th century attacks of the city culminating in the great siege of 1689 and its present day legacy through the annual marching season. The Presbyterian and Catholic migrations of the 18 th and 19 th century are explained, including the legacy of the great famine (1845-49) and the subsequent growth of the Irish diaspora. Hear of Derry’s links to World War II, the shirtmaking industry, shipbuilding, it’s two Nobel Prize winners and its other famous names. You will see and learn about the Catholic Bogside (the crucible of the Troubles and the site of Bloody Sunday) and the Protestant Fountain areas, where the turbulent modern political history of the city is explained from the Nationalist and Unionist perspectives. The entire tour will also feature the unique and world famous humour of Derry, making it an experience to savour!
War and an Irish Town-modern political conflict in Derry
This tour examines the modern political history of the city in detail. The first section visits the Loyalist Fountain area where the historical experience of the Unionist population through the plantation, siege, penal laws, Home rule and partition is used to explain their modern political outlook. We also examine the legacy of the Protestant marching season over the last thirty-five years at the Apprentice Boys Hall. We then look at the Republican Bogside, the area where the conflict broke out in the city and often described as the ‘crucible of the Troubles’. You will learn the minutia of the longstanding political grievances of the Bogside residents which led to the outbreak of 5 th October 1968, followed by detailed explanations of Burntollet march, the Battle of the Bogside, internment, Bloody Sunday and the Hunger Strikes. You will also hear of the evolution of the Republican Movement over the last thirty-five years, including the ill-fated 1972 and 1975 ceasefires, the Long War Strategy, the supergrass system and it’s involvement in the complex peace process.
Leaving Home-the Emigration Story:
This tour examines the numerous departures (and arrivals) that have occurred in Derry and the surrounding hinterland over the centuries, from Colmcille to the Flight of the Earls, from the 18 th century Scots-Presbyterians to the 19 th Catholics before, during and after the Great Famine. Learn about the worldwide Irish diaspora and the inward migrations here during World War II and during the last thirty-five years of the Troubles. Hear of the harsh conditions faced by those who left and see some of the artefacts linked to the period in the Harbour Museum. Help is also available for those seeking genealogy information whilst here in Ireland.
The Siege Story:
Listen to the story of the great siege of 1689 when the walled city was besieged by forces loyal to the catholic James II. Hear how the resistance of the local Protestants, loyal to the Protestant William of Orange, led to the deaths of 7,000 people through starvation and disease and the eventual surrender of the catholic forces during the Relief of Derry. See the Apprentice Boys Hall and hear how their annual commemoration of the siege has become an integral part of the annual marching season and has led to some of the most serious disturbances in the last thirty-five years. In addition, hear why the Pope supported the Protestant William of Orange against the Catholic James, how the Protestant Apprentice Boys march on a date set by the Catholic Church and why a twenty feet high effigy of a man called Lundy is burnt annually during one of the Apprentice Boys marches!
Derry- a city of song
Derry has produced a vast array of musical talent over the years and this tour looks at some of the famous names to emerge from the city. Hear of Mrs Alexander, the author of ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’ and a host of other famous hymns and see her works and former residence. See the Alma Mater of 1970 Eurovision winner Dana. View the street where Phil Coulter was raised giving him inspiration to write the classic ‘The Town I Loved So Well’. Hear of Derry’s most famous punk exports the ‘Undertones’, performers of ‘Teenage Kicks’ (the only song ever played twice in one show by the late great Radio One DJ John Peel).You will also see the venue where Derry’s newest star Nadine Coyle (Girls Aloud) held her first auditions for ‘You’re a Star’ where she first found fame. We also refer to Peter Cunnah, Derry’s major dance music star of the 1990’s and writer of the anthemic ‘Things Can Only Get Better’. we round off the tour by seeing the memorial to Derry’s first chart star Josef Locke where we talk of his rise in the 1950’s and revival through the 1992 hit film ‘Hear My Song’.
Famous Names Tour:
This tour covers a pot-pourri of talent which has emerged from the city in the last 300 years. Hear of the restoration playwright George Farquar, the hymn writer Cecil Alexander, the earl bishop Harvey, Eurovision winner Dana, actress Roma Downey (star of ‘Touched By An Angel’), composer and performer Phil Coulter, Aston Villa and former Celtic manager Martin O’Neill, poet Seamus Heaney, playwright Brian Friel, the Undertones, singer Josef Locke, politicians John Hume and Martin McGuinness and many many more-all inside a few hours!
The Earl Bishop:
Hear the amazing story of Frederick Harvey, fourth earl of Bristol and Anglican bishop of Derry. Hear of his generosity to the Catholic and Presbyterian communities during the penal laws, his cunning scheme to be appointed bishop of Derry, his connections to Harveys Bristol Cream and the famous Bristol chain of hotels. We recount the extra marital dalliance which led to the construction of the city’s first bridge and the Mussenden Temple and explain the connection between Harvey and the city’s two Nobel prize winners. Hear of Harveys renowned eccentricities and his bizarre demise in the French Alps following a European adventure which included two spells in prison!
Spirits of Derry:
And we don’t mean the alcoholic type! As one of the oldest inhabited sites in Ireland, Derry has quite a few long standing residents of the spectral variety! Hear of apparitions from the monastic period, the siege of Derry (1689) and Victorian Derry. Visit the most haunted street in Derry (home to its most haunted house!) and hear of the ghosts on the Hangman’s Bastion, the Guildhall, the Tower museum and the Castle Bar poltergeist, as well as many more…